A travel guide to plan your next adventure

Sri Lanka in August

Despite the fact that the summer monsoon continues to sweep in from the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal, rainfall in Sri Lanka's south and west coast regions drops significantly in August compared to the months before and after....a little sunshine sandwich! On the coast, temperatures stay warm (average of 29 °C), but it can be cool in the hills, especially at night.

01. Blue Whale

The population of Blue Whales seen around Sri Lanka are believed to be around the Indian ocean with frequent sightings off Mirissa (November - April) and Trincomalee (March - April) with intermittent sightings up to September.
Spinner Dolphins are resident to Sri Lankan waters. Kalpitiya is the best location to view them while they are also seen in Mirissa on most days between November through to April. Dolphin watching in Trincomalee is between March-October.
Marine Turtles can be seen nesting in Rekawa. Olive Ridley Turtles nest between November - January, while Green Turtles nest from March - July. Leatherback, Loggerhead and Hawksbill Turtles have been recorded nesting but are infrequently seen.
The East coast comes into season when the north-east monsoon recedes. The best time for exploring the dive sites and for snorkeling is from April - August.
Leopards can be seen year-round in Yala, Kumana and Wilpattu National Parks. The wet season is from November - March when you get the lush green jungle habitats and the dry-season is from May - September when the big cats can be found close to the waterholes.
Yala and Wilpattu National Parks are the most reliable locations for watching the shaggy coated Sloth Bear. Although seen year-round, sightings improve between May - June when fruits such as Palu and Weera ripen and in the dry season which extends all the way through to September.
Solitary bulls and small herds of females and their young can be seen year-round in most of Sri Lanka's dry-zone national parks. Uda Walawe offers virtually guaranteed elephant sightings year-round and is best visited during the dry season when the herds congregate by the water between June - September.
Regarded as one of the world's top wildlife spectacles, 'The Gathering of Elephants' takes place in Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks during the dry season from July through to October. Herds of elephants numbering over a hundred congregate in the open feeding on the lush green grass as the water levels in the Minneriya and Kaudulla tanks recede. They begin to disperse by around late November to the surrounding jungles once the monsoon rains set in. Between December to May, the elephants can be seen in the Hurullu Forest Reserve but in smaller numbers.
Primate watching is year-round across the country. Toque Macaques and Grey Langurs can be seen across the lowlands. Purple-faced Leaf Monkey can be seen in the rain forests, highlands in the outskirts of towns on the west coast and in pockets of forested areas in the dry-zone. The elusive Slender Loris can be seen during nocturnal nature tours. The cultural triangle is the best region in the country for viewing primates, where all Eight species of Monkey and the Slender Loris is also encountered.
Mugger Crocodile can be seen year-round in lakes and the dry-zone National Parks. The larger Estuatine Crocodile is rarer and can be seen in Bundala National Park and in waterways in the outskirts of Colombo. During the dry season between the months of July through to September, large congregations of Mugger Crocodiles can be seen in the waterholes and lakes in Yala National Park.
34 endemics and a further 17 species which are declared as subcontinental endemics can be found year-round in Sri Lanka. The majority of species are found within the lowland rainforests and the cloud forests which are geographically isolated habitats. The highlight are the mixed species birdflocks in Sinharaja which are popularly referred to as birdwaves.
Dragonflies and Damselflies can be seen year-round in the island in wetlands, lagoons, river banks, lakes and other water bodies. There are 124 species with over half these species being endemic. Visiting sites such as Talangama wetlands, Sigiriya moat, Sinharaja, Kithulgala, Horton Plains and Yala will cover a number of different habitats enabling you to see a large diversity of dragonflies.
With over 245 species including 23 endemics, Sri Lanka is an excellent year-round destination for butterfly watching. Realistically over a hundred species can be encountered during a butterfly watching holiday of around 10 days. Swarms of 'white and yellow' butterflies can be seen in the dry-zone around February and March at the end of the wet season.
alling between late July to mid August, the Esala Perahera which takes place in the streets of Kandy is the most iconic event in the country. It celebrates the arrival of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Sri Lanka and runs for 10 consecutive days. Featuring a grand procession of dancers, drummers and elephants decorated in costumes, the Perahera commences and ends at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic running through Kandy town. The Perahera grows larger and longer every night and ends with the grand finale, which falls on the Esala Full Moon day.
The Kataragama festival is held during the month of Esala, July-August each year to mark the end of the two month long Pada Yatra foot pilgrimage from Jaffna to Kataragama through the east coast and jungles of Yala. Kataragama is a jungle shrine dedicated to the God Skanda and is a popular pilgrim center for Buddhists and Hindus where devotees flock year-round. During the festival, fire walking and the grand Perahera are some of its highlights. The end of the festival is marked by a water cutting ceremony in the Menik Ganga which runs through Kataragama.
Dedicated to Skanda, the Vel festival is celebrated in either July or August in Colombo, when ornate chariots bearing a statue of Skanda or his spear (also known as the vel) are paraded through the streets and temple grounds accompanied by the pilgrims. The deities are carried in a procession commencing from the Samangodu Sri Kathivelayuthu Swami Temple in Pettah to the Sri Manickavinayagar Temple in Bambalapitiya. A separate procession also takes place from the Kathiresan Kovil in Pettah to the New Kathiresan Hall in Bamabalapitiya.
Falling between July and August, this is the main festival celebrated in Jaffna and runs for 25 consecutive days. Dedicated to Skanda, a chariot procession takes place twice a day around the Nallur Temple premises, where devotees, drummers and dancers participate.

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